# ChangFa generator output voltage?

I've finished building my ChangFa generator project and had it producing
power today.
I borrowed a friends "Kill-A-Watt" meter to monitor the output voltage and
freq of my genset. I adjusted the engine speed to indicate 60hz and the
voltage was at 127V. I used the meter to measure the house voltage and it
measured 120V, with power provided by the power company.
installing a 5 ohm, 200W rheostat. Where does one find such a beast?
Or is 127V an acceptable voltage?
Thanks
Yes and also, you didn't put load on the gen.
Nick
If you were using the generator long term you would probably notice short life on incandescent lamps, but I doubt any other common household stuff would have a problem.
Unless you can get a surplus rheostat cheap you might want to wait til you get a typical load on the generator and then check the voltage. A rheostat that large will cost close to \$100. A variable resistor would be cheaper, but not as convenient since you wouldn't be able to adjust it on the fly.
Ned Simmons
1. If you put a load on the generator, the voltage will drop.
2. 127 volts is a "little" on the high side, but acceptable.
3. If you need to adjust the voltage, a Variac is a far better choice than a rheostat. A Variac is an autotransformer with an adjustable tap. You can adjust the voltage without throwing away any power. Further, it can raise as well as lower the voltage. Under full load, the generator will probably output a voltage that is a little on the low side... You can find one at an electronics surplus store. They're not cheap, at least not for a big one, but they work very well.
Jerry
I assume the rheostat goes in the field circuit, not on the generator's output, so a variac would not be appropriate. A 5 ohm/200w resistor would not come close to handling the generator's output.
Ned Simmons
High voltage for 120V circuits is actually 135V so you are well within the spec. I'll also note that it is always nice to have that higher voltage as motors will put out their torque a lot nicer and you also have some headroom for long extension cords that are usually never big enough for the currents that they are carrying.
-- Why isn't there an Ozone Hole at the NORTH Pole?
The frequency is generally no more and often a lot less important than the voltage. Power companies maintain a highly accurate frequency for timekeeping and even raise or lower it slightly to keep the clocks on time. The generator frequency will not be accurate enough for time keeping unless it has a very sophisticated governor. For emergency use it is general practice to set the no-load voltage and frequency on the high side and let the governor and voltage regulator do their best at maintaing a satisfactory output as the load varies. Don Young
The highly accurate frequency requiement is not for timing, it is to allow the national electical grid (acutally the east and west coast grids) to function. When you have hundreds (thousands?) of multi megaawatt generators all essentially hooked up parallel, you have to have the frequency variation set as small as technically possible. If not, you get some massive eddy currents in the system.
D> The frequency is generally no more and often a lot less important than the
The phase of the frequency determines where the power goes on the grid. Lead the grid and you pump power into the grid while matching the grid phase and you won't pump anything into it. A really neat trick.
-- Why isn't there an Ozone Hole at the NORTH Pole?
Let's say 2 gens in a grid with a phase difference of 180deg: Who's leading, what's the voltage on the grid and where is all the power going that is feeded in? You can make that mind game with varying phase differences, but the result is not so obvious.
Nick
Each generator will look like a double direct short circuit to the other. I use the term "double short circuit" to mean a 240 volt generator trying to feed not a short circuit, but a negative 240 volt short circuit. Current wil be limited by the sum of the internal resistances of the generators. For a few seconds anyway.
Nick Müller wrote:
I asked a rethorical question. Or do you agree with the "phase trick"? I doubt.
Nick
You were looking for the perpetual motion story??
Nick Müller wrote:
Yes, kind of. Or better the bunny and rabbit story. Trying to solve the following situation: If a gen has to be a tad ahead in phase*) to feed power into a grid, and there are 3 gens that want to feed, which one has to be ahead?
*
) as Bob says
Nick
Think of it this way: Suppose your generator is hooked to a network that has lots of generators and lots of power users (motors, TV's, and electric ovens). In this case, nothing your generator can do will make any difference to the grid. If your generator is not running and you hook on, it will behave like a motor, try to spin the engine on your generator set. Asssuming it has sufficient torque (not likely), it will spin up to synchonous speed (1800 or 3600 rpm in the US) or perhaps to a bit less to allow "slipage" in the typical induction motor winding. Your watt meter will spin in the useage direction.
Now fire up the engine and spin it up to the synchonous speed. The generator will match the grid voltage and pahse angle. No current flows, you watt meter stops.
Now try to increase the generator speed. As soon as you try, the generator phase angle will allow current to flow into the lagging phase angle of the grid. Exactly how far you can advance it is a function of the inherent resistance in your generator and the lines to the grid as well as the horsepower of the engine. Since the load is essentially infinite and the engine isn't, your engine will run at sychronous speed, phase angle leading the grid by a tiny amount. Put a watt meter on the line and it will show watts roughly equal to the shaft hp of your engine (minus the usual effiency losses)
Nick Müller wrote:
There is. It is much smaller. The number and the type of charged particles that stream into the north pole are much different than those streaming into the south.
Martin
Here you are (kind of) right. But the wattmeter shows your short circuit losses with what you try to "fight" the net. And these losses are 100%.
To see your error, draw a sine wave on some paper. Copy that sine onto a transparent paper. Lay the transparent sine wave over the other, so that they match. Important: Now, I'm just talking about the positive half wave. Look at the sine avove the phase axis.
Now shift either one a bit (10 deg, to make it clearer) to the left (or right). You have a lag/lead in the phase. No take a _close_ look on what's happening. On the raising slope, you have a positive difference in voltage, in the falling slope you have a negative difference. Where's your power going now? On the raising slope you feed, in the falling slope you sink. Right, in the drain. To make a contribution to the net, you need a postive voltage difference all the time. You get this, when you are exactly in pase and have a higher voltage than the net.
Before you start nitpicking about "higher and lower voltage", replace it with sinking and sourcing current, if it helps.
Nick
This proposed concept makes absolutely no sense to me. Alternating current isn't the same as battery charging, which is sorta what is implied by "leading the phase" and "pumping power into". Leading the phase by 5%, for example, also means that it's lagging by 95%. Differences in potential that will be present, will have the effect of loads.
The way more power is available is that the output current capacity of the "grid" is increased by adding more parallel precisely-in-phase current sources. I would think that it's highly likely that special equipment is used to synchronize the phase and frequency of a generator's output before the contacts close.
A mismatch in phase or frequency should be avoided, not intentionally induced. Mismatches will cause dramatic currents due to differences in potentials.
The out-of-phase reaction can be observed when parallel connecting the secondary windings of a dual-secondary power transformer. The out-of-phase current is maximum opposed currents. This test is best done with a test lamp to avoid destruction of the transformer.
When the dual secondary windings are properly phased, the current capacity essentially doubles. For a transformer with dual 12V 5A secondaries, the output current capacity would be 10A. This same practice is followed when connecting secondary windings of separate transformers.
One would not attempt to parallel the output terminals of an individual 3-phase transformer for the same reasons. The out-of-phase currents would cause instant destruction of the transformer.
There isn't any practical reason to try to determine which phase leads, it's not relevent and has no meaning in AC power usage. In your home L1 and L2 are opposed, and that's not an indicator of which one occurs first in real time. The same with 3-phase, it's just the separation of the phases that gives it it's characteristics.
In working with either one in home or shop environments, load balancing is about the only important consideration, with safety being at the top of the list.
WB ............
I remembergong to a power station in Lancashire. They had a meter, presumably connected to the three phases of the mains grid and also to the three phases of the local generator. On the face of this meter was shown "Lead," "0," and "Lag."
When they had to run the local generator, they controlled its speed until the meter stopped rotating and only when it settled down at the "0" position would they operate the circuit-breaker to connect to the grid. As you say, if there were a severe error. it would result in breakers tripping out and general mayhem!
I don't know if this has any relevance to your problem, but I thought I might contribute it, anyawy.
G.H.Ireland
Isn't that what electricians call "the smoke test"?

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